October 2010

Previous issues

i.

George Bataille
(Mangesh Kulkarni)

Deconstruction


Untying the text I find

Laconic hieroglyphs of hysteria
Always already imbricated
In the lines and bylines
Of power/knowledge.
Fumbling for Foucault
I fall into the furnace
Of discourse from which
The Delphic doodles
Of Derrida rescue me:
Till on the wings
Of difference I fly
Into the subaltern lap
Of Spivak and experience
The jouissance of deconstruction.

With the Dung in the Head


With the dung in my head

i explode I hate the heavens
who am I to spit out the skies
it is bitter being enormous
i have the eyes of fat pigs
my heart is of black ink
my sex is a dead sun

stars fallen into a bottomless grave
i weep and my speech slurs
it matters little that immensity be round
and roll in a bran-basket
i love death I summon it
at the slaughter-house of Saint-Pere.

[Translated from the original French by Mangesh Kulkarni]
Courtesy: ‘De la bouse dans la tete…’ in Un Anthologie de la Poesie Francaise 1950-1985 – Choix de Textes: Jean Pierre Balpe, Action Poetique, 1985


(jul-sept ’96)


ii.

Anjum Hasan
two poems

Rainsongs


Hill’s shoulder

Water’s laugh.
But the heart is still my own.

Cars cry on dirty city streets.

Above, the coral frost-light seeps
through a dark blue east.

If you talk to the rain

you hear so many others –
cloud’s chatter, earth’s
drunkenness.

House on the hill.

Maybe no one there
but water dreaming
in vases.

If you are the ant,

never tired,
I am the time
Of the bird’s sleep.

Alone on the road

Darkness comes
Leaving stars behind.

June Night in a Middle Class Home


Now you will hear the moonlight shuffling

among old books like a gauze-winged moth
who forgets what it searches for, and why;
and the girls will lie strewn in the darkness
not dreaming of the grand things anymore,
no, not even of funeral mornings
cold with the white sheet and foot-printed silence,
nor of kisses in the hollow of their necks
from the dark, wordless mouth of the future.
There are mainly streets in their sleep now,
tables, chairs, loaves of bread, voices circling particular rooms,
and they amongst it all, growing fearfully dilute,
like glasses of wine in the rain.

A rat pauses at the doorway to the world,
its nose twitching at mysteries that don’t exist –
the kitchen mostly smells of things that are not there –
whiskey and rice, smoked cigarettes, onions in vinegar,
words whispered, shouted, unsaid, and plans
that beat in the breast and efface their makers.
It does not smell nice in the night,
the kitchen of a middle-class home.

And the bedrooms with their medicines
and their shelves of yellow-paged novels,
make slow caravans in the sky.
What can you hear if you sit in the chair
where the crumpled shirts lie?
Nothing. In the eastern night, between
one silence and another,
there are no stars.

What you can hear then,
are blinds kittens crying at the blood
they feel everywhere;
and children turn fifteen in the night,
their diaries scream in distress –
“I love…’, I want…’, ‘I hate…’, ‘I am…’.

It is all like those dirty clothes that have been worn
and will be worn again,
but in the moon-dust even a crumpled handkerchief
looks like a fallen rose.
And if someone passes with a guitar?
Ah, they will drown, those little ones,
they will walk on dark city sewers
as if they were walking on dreams.
In sleep their white faces are delicate as death,
and their lashes… their lashes are the broken feet
of wet summer spiders.

And the night, and the moon
will pass like this, from room to room,
like convalescents in conversation,
not really saying anything new,
but listening and talking because
that is the thing to do
for these old, evanescent, dream-filled things of June.


(jul-sept ’96)

iii.

Images Confused/Confused Images/The Commuter/In Transition

Rajneesh Dham


I.
He turns a poignant tune
and as if, on cue,
a double decker bus arrives.
The queue refuses to budge.
He elbows his way through
as banshees ride the December breeze.
His co-passenger is a slice of the 70s.
He flicks the dust of his brittle bones
and mumbles about a lost paradise.

II.

We travel on the lower deck
of a charabanc, sans windows.
We number a score,
picked from different locations,
our destination unknown.
Only the conductor seems at home.
He welcomes us with a quizzical,
wishing us a congenial smile.
The jongleur refuses
to fall prey to his greetings
he fritters away his time
moulding the tense air into a jeremiad.
His tears have the colour of longing.

III.

The oldest passenger in the bus
is a woman with a fractured jaw.
She claims it to be a scar
of a medieval north Indian hearth
she speaks of black hooves, misty sky
and black widows who walk into folklore –
A pyre at a time.
The jongleur sheds a tear.


IV.
We hitch our fate
on these dilapidated highways,
our mission
to discover paradise.
We swerve past potholes,
shun roadside eateries,
making unscheduled halts at accident sites.
We smile at the known,
acknowledge others in transit,
updating ourselves with new entries.
We compile history in transition.

iv.

Sudip Ghosh
Nike Porter’s Application

Dear Sir,

I do hereby apply for
the post of trainee
in your institution, which
I am given to understand
promises absolute bliss
to all workers, without extortions.
After all, this place, where you have sent me
does not really hold any promise.
Its phlegmatic tasks stick to my body
like mushrooms on the sticky, watery mud of
a dying river – black with the silt of waste
convulsed from what you have taught us to
believe to be the proudest thing
we have succeeded to achieve –
civilization.

But then, dear sir, why

of all places am I saying all these to you.
You must be knowing! Perhaps you don’t
understand these things. You don’t live in muck, do you?

So, sir, I apply for a placement. I am qualified

to while away my time doing nothing – which
I believe is the prerogative in your institution.
it would not be out of place to mention
that I am adept at the art
of enjoying pleasure at the cost of others –
a service, I believe – your institution
offers to all resident employees.
So sir, I humbly place my application
for your perusal.
Thanking you,
Yours faithfully,
Nike Porter

v.


Atri Bhattacharya

Blackballed

Do not harm the heffalump;
he would not eat your nose.
Observe him as he peels a tree
– Such delicacy –
partakes of nuncheon and goes
slow thunder-rolling through the bamboo clumps,
(wishful Chinese bamboo-clumps,
visual haiku bamboo-clumps)
complements their poetry
with his several tons of prose.
Examine now the heffalump’s
high brow and huge physique.
Does he know the Rule of Three?
Is this declension weak?
Can he use
those massive thews, are wind and limb quite sound?
Why does he freight
His awesome weight with gut so near the ground?
Can he conjure up scenes of mirth,
An elephantine Life Divine, gigantic chic?
Can he move his ponderous girth
in light-foot waltzes by the hour?
Can his forehead wide, his wrinkled hide,
cloak the oppressive sense of power?
(By one fairly common measure
of greatness, worth and such-like things,
his heffalumpen stature grows: out-topping Caesar
and the sorry Sphinx
by virtue of his nose.)
Shall we now judge the heffalump,
his intellect and charm?
His mein is calm
and yet sometimes his orbs gleam quite distracted;
his spiring tooth; his bulk uncouth,
give cause for some alarm.
If you still seek the cause whereby,
the deeper darker reason why,
his sundry claim to grace are all hereby rejected –
to tell the truth
it is because the heffabrute
just doesn’t give a damn.


(apr-jun ’98)


vi.



Jerry Pinto
three poems


The Street Children of Brazil


They say there are children in Brazil,

Sharp-faced, bright-eyed survivors.
They flash between remorseless wheels
Quicksilver fingers parting fool and money
Carrying drugs, stealing food
Bathing infrequently and sleeping rough
Like puppies, huddled together for warmth.

There are vigilantes in Brazil

There are faces stony with belief,
Their hands rock-steady on their guns.
They sign each dead child
With seven bullets.
Bahadur, twelve,
Washes our floors. His red shirt
Rides up, revealing a sliver of back.

For My Students


“How like that, Jerry?”

You ask and I struggle for an answer
The logic of catechisms will not work here
Nor the sanities of experimental psychology.
To answer you I must bare myself,
Show you the bedsores on my body,
Tell you how I wanted to ask the same questions,
Tell you how I have accepted the same lies.
Ask me to teach you calculus instead,
I can handle that.
But when you drop your furry animal hearts
Into my hands, my frosted fingers
May leave chilblains, iceburn

So I say,

“That could be phrased better, you know.”

Termite Queen


That night the air was desperate with invitation

Your flight was urgent, new territories had to be won.

Now, white queen of frantic reproductions

Liquefied by effortlessness
You do not need to remember how once

You flew.


(jan-mar ’96)

vii.

Prabhanjan K. Mishra
two poems

For God


I lose a little of you

everyday, only small reprieves
hold us together
a while longer.

To stop the drift

and call, “This far
and no more,” have failed
before the urge

to peep under the lid,

see the slush, the muck
and the flesh in rut. The
wage of familiarity.

The search for the Eden

may be a fancy.
We may be the children
of a false messiah.

Yet why do I love

to live the lies
of your snake
and apple stories?


1992

Iscariot, The Most Faithful


Father, give me coins and toffees

from your pocket. Tell me,
you have a large stock of them
secretly hidden away
out of my reach.
Your word is my scripture.

During my vigil the peg gave away,

your shirt fell to the floor and I searched
its pockets for the toffees and the coins.
I wasn’t angry with you, father, when
I found none. I cursed the peg rather.
It had betrayed my trust and your secret.


Other’s fathers perhaps

kept theirs better guarded
beyond the reach of their children.
They yet have their faith
bright, burnished, and solemn.
The myth of Santa Claus.

I play, father

with Iscariot, Thomas, and Peter.
I safekeep my conscience
in Magdalene’s parlour.
Iscariot, the most faithful
loves me the most.

Thomas fidgets and Peter hamlets.

Magdalene’s sight is fogged
with superstitious cataract.
Only Iscariot strong as a rock
delivers me on to my persecutors.
(Who can harm the Son of God?)

I return your shirt, father

to its repentant peg and rearrange
my memories. The bells of reindeers
jingle from the North, their antlers’ rattle.
Fat old Santa may wriggle through the chimney tonight.
My faith may warm through yet one more winter.


1993


(apr-jun ’96)


viii.

Elisa Biagini
two poems

Colorado Blue


1.

Blue cadet coats swarming into
the razor blades

of the church spires, eyes matching

shoes, shining,

no echoes in the pillows of

these mountains.

2.

Following paths through
the red hair rocks, my

kidney stones, your hands

shaking, out of place

like that blue bird

with no camouflage.

3.

Not in the rain
forest, walking at dawn, blue

peacock nails matching my T-shirt, my

breath, but here

no place to hide from you, a

prairie dog.

4.

“Blue roof = 3D happiness” I
said as a reflex, like

maple syrup = 3D sex, but

not in your mouth, not in

this car, snow-

like.

5.

To resist our amnesia I dip
my hand in blue and date

it, close to the exit:

is the right one and the color left

moves, river in the canyon

of two fingers.

6.

A scenography of blue walls and
long wooden planks, to
host lungs hungry for milk
and raw meat, porches for

limbs stretched to get

what I thought was
inevitable
but now

I know is not:

the business of breathing is
hard work.

Holland Tunnel


It’s true,


we are 2

neurons, heading
east, not
touching
                    otherwise just
ashes left, the
smell of burnt
rubber.

On a guilt trip

in this car, we
keep the heat on, with
food I don’t even
like,
                 swallowing
smiles like flies.

You tell me

jokes, proud as
of relative’s pictures,
we hold the
breath hoping
the air will
change:

I know the

exit to this tunnel
is under water.

(11.7.’98)



(jan-mar 2000)

ix.


Ananya Sankar Guha

two poems

Hurt


the flower, the leaf

the sky
the bleeding pariah

hurt

the beggar, the politician
the dust

hurt

the past, the present, the future
memory lights a fire,
a pain

hurt

childhood

hurt

the euphoria after a drink

hurt

communal riots,
train accidents, floods

hurt

India, India, India

hurt

belligerence, human aggression,
lies

hurt

the bullock-cart and the Maruti

hurt is:

a truth,
let’s unravel
its hidden remains.

To The Goddess


I came crawling at your door O Goddess

Like a whimpering child begging for eatables
Then I was told; Krishna, the beautiful flute player
Once as a child impishly stole curd
And discovered Heaven for himself;
For all of us, out of this earthly world
And we all forgave him,
Sang praises in chorus to him
How human he was!
I lack that touch, O Goddess.
Make me a prayer, spun out of your infinite variety
For, when I see a starved child scuttle
Out of a lane I forget that
Once upon a time I too was a child.
Krishna is Krishna
And me, me.
I steal everyday in the
Broad daylight of despair
Robbers and thieves come knocking at my heart
Come and go.
I commit crimes I’m really not supposed to
Search for light-winged, mascara-eyed angels
In hidden corners of serpentine streets.
I’ll be dammed Goddess
If you give me your benign smile.


x.

Rabindra K. Swain

The House by the Sea

This is the house you have to live in

dreaming of yet another house by the sea.
The wind there shall not be hot
blowing from the nostrils of a lone man
who has ruined his life
looking after his nagging wife.
The door there shall not be blank
as is your heart
from the sunrise to the sunset.
There you shall not want
what you ever liked to want.
You shall just sit by the sea
dangling your heart ‘midst
dead fish, dead shells
and immense longings of the breeze.
Your lack of any need, beyond the basics,
will tend your feet with casuarina trees.
The sea will wait – as would your wife –
patiently for you to wake up
with the fishermen, nets strapped against
their backs. And you will sail
into the middle of the day
navigated by your zeal ever to stay
away from the straits of any further wishes.

In Praise of Dasia Bauri


It is evening. The street lights are on.

An old man on an old bicycle riding into the dark
of a village nearby
singing a bhajan, which seems to be his favourite,
O, my dear Lord, why don’t you take away this life…
could also be another untouchable Dasia Bauri
who, denied admission, called the God from the temple
to where he was – the seashore at Puri. Like him,
you also do not belong to your community of beings.
Thrown out, you seemed to have dragged behind you
your godforsaken but godfather-ridden world.
With the evening wearing out, with the old man gone,
you are bound for home – home is what is left
For you at your return, everywhere, forever –
and every time you return, you are sure,
in every house there will be a temple,
in every temple there will be a poet
and in every poet a Dasia Bauri:
untouchable, oblivious of a sea by his side
and of the world beyond it,
ageing blissfully into his God’s night.


(jan-mar ’98)

xi.

Prabhu Wafa
That is my Country

Do you see the tree-lined streets,

the mustard trees, date palms, ak,
the flock of Kunk birds migrating?
          That is my country, my garden.

Do you see the people, seated, singing kafis,
hear them play the singyoon, surando, sarangi,
matko and yaktako in the twilight?
           That is my country, my garden.

Do you see the narrow passes in the hills,
the camels, the panniers,
the highlanders in sand dunes?
          That is my country, my garden.

Do you see the thatched roofs, sheds,
herds of cattle and colts,
and amidst the fields, the water wheels?
         That is my country, my garden.

Do you see the golden ears of corn dancing,
women perched on thatched scaffolding,
guarding the grain, giggling?
         That is my country, my garden.

Do you see the branches laden with promegranate,
water lilies, lotus flowers, kesu,
cypress and red berries?
         That is my country, my garden.

Companions of my past haunt me,
the fragrance of my elders’ ashes fills the air.
Wafa’s breath submerges with theirs.
         That is my country, my garden.

(Translated from the original Sindhi by Anju Makhija and Menka Shivdasani)


(jan-mar ’98)


xii.

Suma Josson
Untitled

1.

There’s nothing much
left to say except
that it will rain soon
or it has rained
and in between
the idea of such
a state lies a
movement in a
poem when it is
known that loss
cannot survive only
metaphor as the
lines in lighting
Become embrace

It is a season in the last

of the rain when unable
to free itself from a water
emptiness silences the
clouds with inspiration

2.

What is left
in a fistful
of tenderness
is the potential
for an image to
redeem itself
from the red earth

3.

This is the begininning
of a wait for a
wind when the white
sheet laid on the
table will topple
the jug in which
there is no
water to reflect
black clouds.

4.

And then the rain
will ask what is it
that was not given
to you except that
which was left
behind in the storms
which silence holds
on like a fragment
of desire

5.

This is the time when the leaves
of the gulmohar will fall any
moment now and the piece of
blank paper will wait for a
rain which many poems ago
had struck out air from
form and the leaves not knowing
what it is to touch earth
dance their last dance unaware
that rain once it reaches
soil would fragment
metaphors letting death
absorb roots of time

6.

It is strange that night
measures itself not by
day but the silence
it can give to what
is in it to endure
it erases the
transparency in light

7.
In the
heart
of a tree
lies a
rain
lashing
the water
in its
flow

(oct-dec ’95)

xiii.

Bobby Basu
A Rush Hour’s Overview of Poetry

Our world is a hopelessly gravitational place. Our necks get painfully put on the line for one script or the other to take over largely against our will. We are louts on our lottery. When our lives are caught in the hop like an aircraft in a fog soup within sighting distance of an airport and loses visibility and leaves us afloat on a limb, the blind landing technology of ‘Poetry’ returns us to safety. So save your vision for the sideshows. No wonder the really lucky among us take ‘Poetry’ for the map as well as the territory. Just goes to show it is okay, don’t hold your breath that the snake is in the grass.


It is a fitness programme that ace Olympic participants swear by. And a reason for wannabes in the reserve list to bring out the last ounce of effort in them. It is brinkmanship and the tweaking of the tiger’s tail that keeps sporting Bolshevism at bay – at least till the games are over. And identity like De Sica’s Bicycle Thief that means different things to different people. A utopia or a nowhere place that gives a place value to our presence in the world like the Mathematical Zero.


Just in case. You never know when chance or mischance drop by. Experienced coaches insist that when the race is too close to call, outcomes are never settled by moves and countermoves. The scales are really tilted by dummy moves and unforced errors and Poetry. Forgive me Sergeant Shakespeare, ‘Poetry’ unlike ‘Life’ is a tale told by an idiot for all whose sound and fury signifying miles and miles of buggerall Everything. Ask Maradona for his ‘hand of God’ goal, a jackpot winner or even a software stock speculator. They knew their answers, so they caught up with their Guru ‘Poetry.’

It is a noninvasive surgery that your doctor has ordered. ‘Poetry’ is the place to spend your weekends away from friends and drinks. When you let ‘Poetry’ to stand in for unbridled conversations among old friends, you gain a trusty mate to sort out your doubts. ‘Our doubts are our traitors’ says Shakespeare and hell is other people (Sure as Hell! Try rubbing the wrong side of your man next door. As if you never knew.)

‘Poetry’ is objective in the ‘born again’ sense because you can have a change of heart without undergoing a major heart transplant surgery. It is love without its object and pain which escapes understanding. It is a warm kiss of a winter sun contemplating the gentle caress of a cool breeze. (Anyway, you can’t get terribly far with a surrogate Venus in a halfway website on the Internet. The odds can be got over though. But there you are – it’s the lottery lark again).


‘Poetry’ is the unspoken sisterhood of Sakuntala from Kalidasa through Dante’s Beatrice to Shakespeare’s Juliet. Tragedy management if you like. With emotional economics in the bargain. No wonder Shakespeare is being discovered as the management guru of seminal importance in the US.


Like Israeli farmers going over the top in unrepenting desert lands, Baudlaire and Ginsberg are harvesting precious teardrops to grow roses and thorns. My life! For all our past karmic lifecycles we still wonder that we stand to ‘Poetry’ as Eve stands to Adam in Milton.


‘Poetry’ no less is our happiest knowledge and our praise.


(oct-dec 2000)

xiv.

Rajlukshmee Debee

To Yudhisthira

At last the symbolism is clear to me,

Husband-in-chief,
Yudhisthira!
Mahaprasthana, – the great departure,
Letting your body scale the mountain of years,
Is simply a matter of longevity.
He who lives – lasts.

These wrinkles, the rotting teeth, the bent back –

Are telltale signs of approaching Heaven
With your terrestrial body.
You may never be gifted the celestial.
Ever-young mein,
Did you know that, O most discerning?
Perhaps not. For – were you not Dharmaraja?
Dharma is a matter of framed space,
Of rules and regulations – of nursing a candle flame
From killing gusts of seasonal wind.
So you leapt from rock to rock,
Your attention never wavering. So you never
Missed a step.

How the others fell by the wayside!
Those who needed protection – gentle submissive souls;
Nakula and Sachdeva.
Those who protected you and yours
With sinews and arrows of steel;
Bhima and Arjuna.
Your attention never wavered, – you never
Never looked back at them.

And the one who let you be what you are
By respecting your framed space,
Obeyed you to allot a share of her being
To her five intemperate husbands.
(Some of them were worthy, some unworthy.
But in the eyes of Dharma, the unworthy has equal share.)
That woman cast off her body like a torn rag
At your bidding. Therefore, today,
She must not enter Heaven with her soiled body.
How does it matter?
If Heaven means being mummified, then defied,
Then death is a release.

(oct-dec ’96)

xv.

Rajan J. Barrett
Hubbub of a Station

Unemployment’s all around godmen dot our stations now
Even at the railway door virus and godmen galore.
Wooly-haired saffron trickster, vying with a mongrel cur,
Wearing his own pictures too, locked in a wooden locket.

Avatar of all that’s sad! Avatar that’s not so bad!
Avatar from poverty; scrathes his crotch unabashed.
Hoardings on the other side tell of titis and fancy guys
All he does is to espy-tilting soul, a velvet hide
A clash, a bang – some paise.
Would his locket last lamenting? Would his chanting charge to heaven?
Would he like some petty poet, sink in the tide of human cries
And the hubbub of the station?

Or would he like some soul in pain strike back in vengeance once again
And like a sould unsatisfied come again to dot the station?
Suffering saffron shuffling madam chuffing like a train
Chanting loudly on the platform as if hell would come again
With the hubbub of the station and the beating of the rain.

(oct-dec ’99)

xvi.

Ahila Sambamoorthy
two poems

Night of the Tropics

Night reveals worlds darker than the dream twilight,

Swiftly shrouding rain-pelted sea and land
and the searing rhythms of coconut palms,
sussurant in the bitter salt-gusts of island monsoon.
A ballad from a hollow bamboo flute
yearning seawards,
rhapsodizing the waves’ deep-toned cadence
and the odour of the brine.

Ghostly-green windows, framed kerosene light squares
blow patches of fireflies against heavy dark leaves of jackfruit trees;
illume yellow-haloed candles revering cadaverous household gods
and earthen joss-pots in the shadow of niches.
Shimmering trembling black moths on flames rising in hot still air.

The Musk of nightfall
lives in flowers unknown,
weighed down by waxed olive leaves
that home the cicadas’ sparse drone
and subterranean trill of startlings’ hunted unease.
Vexing a primordial silence, weightless,
of softly murmuring casuarinas.

Nightfall


The large-flowered jasmine blooms

in the gathering dusk
The white cotton wick in the oil-lamp
flames scarlet
In the flushed skies
a broken bangle of conch-shells like the crescent moon
floats
A black cuckoo pecks
at the fragrant pollen of the mango branch –
a whetstone covered with silver dust

This forest
its clusters of golden blossoms
of the dark-branched mast-wood trees
moist cool shady as darkness itself
Beside its ivory sands
as dazzling as many moons heaped together
White flowers of the sea-pine washed by the waves

(jan-mar 2000)


new work

xvii.

M. Nazir Ali
three poems

The Lake on the ECR

The lake came at you

like a flash,
by being at a place
where it has no business to be.
Vast as the sea,
but with none of its tantrums,
still as the breath
of a sleeping god.
So still
that the moving train of water birds
seemed drawn on it,
life miraged as still life!

Poems

1.
Poems are of two
kinds: the taut line
describing a cool image
which sets up
a nuanced comment.
Tread with care
in this Amazonian forest;

2.

There is, of course, the other variety:
witty, conversational and perambulatory,
like a walk in the lawn
after sudden showers.

The Night Shop


They begin business

when most down their
shutters
and you smell them
before you see them.
The aroma of meat
cooking in bloodred curry
makes the European tourist
break out in sweat.
The muscular man
before a roaring fire
could be someone
from Inferno
but here only makes musical
parottas garnished
in eggsandonion
on a flat kingsized pig iron pan.
The stomach has memory
of its own: the idea
of dosas dipped in
prawn curry
makes it give
a nostalgic rumble.

xviii.


Nayanthara

two poems

A to-be Mother’s Angst, Hopes and Apologies


Does the radiant sun ever become a burden for the skies?

Is the tranquil moon a burden for the stars?
How can the lovely baby growing in my womb
Be a burden for me?
Tired of life’s vagaries, its fearful twists and turns,
Frustrations, insecurities, the unending parade
Of ups and downs–downs being more often–
I end up cursing you, bitterly, venting
The venom of my anger on your helpless being.
I’m sorry; terribly sorry, my baby,
For hurting you with my unintentional words.
You are, I failed to realize,
The only flicker of hope left in my life:
The unborn harbinger of my dreams.
I desperately wish to wipe out
The pile of painful memories that still lies
In the cluttered graveyard of my heart.
I tried every bit to wipe out those decayed remnants
But the foul stench of the past still lingers on…
The frequent rain of tears only furthers its dirty pungency,
Slowly stifling my breath, paralyzing me to the core.
You are the rustle of leaves
That wakes me up from my siesta,
The infantile scent of fresh milk
That lingers in my mouth after I drink it,
The plush bed of flowers
That gives me a world of comfort and peace
When I feel lonely, sad, disturbed,
The delicate light of the heavens that
Illuminate my afflicted mind.
You truly surprise me; indeed, awe me…
You are not of this world, I believe.
You cannot be. Tell me,
Where do you come from?
I know not; whoever you are, my baby,
May you sleep quietly,
Peacefully within me,
Fanned by the feathers
Of a flamboyant destiny,
Holding to your heart
A world of powerful dreams:
The gateway to a majestic future.

Silent Lives


A pall of gloom descends over the small rooms

When her quiet shadow floats aimlessly around the house.
Her still presence lost in the complacent beauty of dawn,
Her dark face made even darker
By the fierce tediousness of her work,
Her tired eyes, sunken and shallow;
Beautiful flowers that had shed their petals.
Thin curls fall over her worn-out face,
Gently caressed by the morning breeze.
They say she was born deaf and dumb.
She knows no language,
She has no words.
Unspeakable thoughts drift in her fragile heart,
Playing silently with her soft emotions.
A throat without a voice,
Ears alien to the sweet music of nature.
Unmindful of her cruel fate,
She goes about her daily chores,
A loyal servant in a strange household.
Uncomplaining, unregretful,
She is the master of her silent world.
She eagerly waits for it to be noon.
The dirty dishes, the stinking clothes…
She wishes to be away for a while.
At six in the evening, she gets back home –
To her small mud house, with thatched roof.
The setting sun casts a psychedelic glow on her pale face.
She runs, in eager anticipation to see
Her little child back from school.
The smile on her dear one’s face,
The charming innocence and the childish pranks,
Make her forget the vulgar hypocrisy of the world,
And bring a thousand smiles on her lips….
Until the next morning.

xix.

Sonnet Mondal
two poems

Just a last peg for a Jobless


Ashes dropping over

a mug of vodka
speaks of a micro-story-
minutes ago.

A boy sitting and sipping it,

chained by silence
indicates a sorrow
pricking hard.

The table has heard

Dramas of thick emotion
As two opposite sexes
Sat exchanging words,
Hours ago.
The desperate boy
Was left into despair
By a girl suffering
From insecurity.

Alone, the boy sits jobless

While the table has
nothing else than a last peg
to offer.

The waiter waits to see-
The boy drinks the peg
Or the peg drowns the boy.

My Pencil, Eraser & Pen


There is always

A half broken pencil
In my right pocket
To pen poems
And an eraser on the left
To rub them off.

The manuscript is the

Tongue of my pen
Which just scribbles.
For the ones
spoken by my pencil
I will rub them off each time
As I don’t want to share
My genes.
Publishers, please be happy
With my scribbling.

xx.

Minal Sarosh
three poems

Waterfall

Across the room I


a


b


s


e


l


l


holding your rope eyes


s


l


i


d


i


n


g


down shoulders

breaking over rocks
shocking me with their
wet spray

d


o


w


n

to the fallen book
on the floor.

For a moment

the book in my hands
feels like your skin.

Kitchen Garden

Amma rubbed in the
sesame oil well
and didn’t let any
generation slip
out of her hands
as she bathed them.
Balanced on toes
she doused them
with boiled water,
neem green.

Nodding, pouring

her thin churned
buttermilk voice,
in the tender throats
like she poured water
to her favorite
curry leaf plant.
Words tying umbilical roots
till they learn to repeat
themselves like leaves
and fill the kitchen garden
with a forest of small trees
their fragrance calling out to her
over the years………

Amma…Ammma…


(Curry-Leaf – Leaves of aromatic tropical/sub-tropical herb used as spice in India)


An Incomplete Poem


One leap and on the wall,

I sure could beat any monkey
at that, impatient, hungry,
and in a hurry I plucked
the raw fruit, bit hard
into the blank paper,
a zigzag monkey bite.

But the raw green fruit stuck,

like words which refused
to go down my pen,
like in my throat, so I stopped,
exasperated, my poem chocked.
I spate out the unripe morsels,
throwing away the black
exposed seeds also,
and now even if I keep staring
at the broken sentences
It’s not going to help, ever!
I have to put the poem away,
for some time, and then wait
for words like the papaya tree
which will also wait for the seeds
tossed away carelessly
to grow, like the thoughts at the
back of my mind, into
a tree again and then may be
my words will find their mate
to complete this poem.

xxi.

Beverly Dash
two poems

Angel

my daddy came to visit me from the ghost ship at night
he asked me “girl you’re looking weak have you been doing alright
he said,”girl i know something is wrong
i don’t hate your lover
but i feel you don’t belong.”
i said,”dad, it’s been years since i last saw your handsome face
now you’re commander and chief of the ghost ship
he said,”i’ve been sailing to get here, for days”
we caressed and it felt good
it had been awhile
his memory would make me cry
this time i did not grieve but i smiled
he sat there on his favourite couch
he was back in this doomed town
i prayed he could have stayed
i hadn’t dreamt about him for months
his sudden appearance showed me his love
he’s an angel
watching over me through my darkest days
there were so many things i wanted to talk about
but i didn’t have the right words to say
simple as can be
daddy i miss you
this is something i can’t get used too

flames to dust

flames to dust
feeling so numb
you can’t save your heart anymore
it’s the one you thought could survive a fire burn
we cry for something
and all these tears save us from nothing
blame the distance for killing us
but it’s responsible for healing us
you never cared from the start
sometimes it’s so easy to break a heart
not too far away from the demise
which will mark a new sunrise
there will be no one last chance
as some sins have no penance
there is so much pain one has to go through
that only death can subdue
things and times change
when you know you can’t pretend
that’s the beginning of the end

xxii.

Moinak Dutta
two poems

The Epitaph

Here lies a body
Whose mind once possessed
An obsession-thick and sticky…

One fine morning,
Under a trance,
The body jumped off
The balcony-third floor!

And fell and fell
But failed to stop the Fall…

Now,
That you’re standing, stupefied,
Infront of the obelisk,
The body-confused and shocked,
Feels a strange premonition…
You are the next to follow,
And thousands will follow you soon!

(published previously in The Statesman, 20 Feb, 2001)

Had I…

Had I the strength,
I could have caused
The rebirth of a whole nation;

Had I the power,
I could have throttled
God to yield;

Had I humility,
I could have cried
a whole decade seeking blessings;
Had I ego,
I could have risen
like Satan from Leviathan…

xxiii.

book launch

Sonnet Mondal

Sonnet Mondal’s books 21 Lines Fusion Sonnets of 21st Century and Penumbra of Indian Verses were launched at Kolkata Press club on 30th October. They were launched by eminent poet, Subodh Sarkar, editor of Indian Literature, Dr. Ajoy K Ray, Vice Chancellor of Bengal Engineering & Science University, Shibpur and Fr. Dr. Felix Raj, Principal of St. Xavier’s, Kolkata. In the words of Subodh Sarkar, “The poetic diction used in the books are excellent and the fact that Sonnet claims these are 21 lines Sonnets has enough power to accept these as Sonnets.”

The book Penumbra of Indian Verses presents a set of lyrical poetry while the other book introduces a new brand of 21-line sonnet. The program was conducted by one of the popular hosts of Amar F.M. — Subir Ghosh.

xxiv.

tbc
recommends:

http://hansda-s-s.blogspot.com/ (Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar)
http://paulrogov.wordpress.com/ (Paul Rogov)
http://gopikottoor.blogspot.com/ (Gopikrishnan Kottoor)

xxv.

tbc remembers…

P. Lal
(born 1929 – 3 Nov, 2010)

Puroshottam Lal or Professor Lal or P. Lal (as he is affectionately called) was among the first generation of Indian poets writing in English to appear after independence. Since 1950’s, he has been promoting the cause of creative writing in English in India through his organisation Writers’ Workshop, publishing regularly the work of Indian writers in English. He is especially known for his translation of Mahabharata. He is recipient of the Jawaharlal Fellowship and Padma Shri.

contributors


Mangesh Kulkarni teaches Political Science at the Department of Post Graduate Studies and Research, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai. He has co-translated the poems of Vasant A. Dahake from the original Marathi, published by HarperCollins and called A Terrorist of the Spirit in 1992.
Anjum Hasan is a well-known writer based in Bangalore.
Rajneesh Dham is a well-known Delhi-based poet and journalist.
Sudip Ghosh is the editorial co-ordinator at Times of India, Kolkata. Besides poetry, Sudip writes short stories, and sketches.
Atri Bhattacharya is an IAS officer. A voracious reader, he has a regular column in The Bengal Post. His writings are at: http://sadoldbong.blogspot.com/2010/11/easy-way-out.html
Jerry Pinto is a well-known Mumbai-based writer.
Prabhanjan K. Mishra edited Poesis, the tri-annual journal of the Poetry Circle, Mumbai. His first collection of poems, Vigil, was published in 1993.
Rajan J. Barret teaches English in North Gujarat University, Patan.
Elisa Biagini has a degree in Art History and taught at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She writes both in Italian and English. Biagini is the author of a book called Questi Nodi (Florence, 1993) and has published her work in several Italian and English magazines. She was born in Florence.
Bobby Basu is a Kolkata-based freelance writer.
Suma Josson’s first book of poems, Poems and Plays, was published by Writers Workshop in 1982 and her second, A Harvest of Light, was published by Orient Longman in 1993. Josson has worked as a journalist for PTI-TV. She has made a film on the Bombay riots of December ’92 and January ’93 entitled “Bombay’s Blood Yatra,” which received critical accalim in India and abroad. Her novel Circumferences was published by Penguin in 1994.
Ananya S. Guha lives in Shillong India and works in the Indira Gandhi National Open University. His poems have been published in magazines/ezines both in India and abroad. Some of these are: Glasgow Review, Osprey Journal, Poem 2 day, Asia Writes, Art Arena, Muse India, Concelebratory Shoe Horn Review, Other voices, and Gloom Cupboard among others.
Rabindra K. Swain had his Ph.D on the poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra. His poems, translations, essays and reviews have been published in various national and international journals including Critical Quarterly, Orbis, Cobweb (UK), The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writings from Abroad (Canada), Bitterroot and Weber Studies (US).
Rajlukshmee Debee Bhattacharya taught in IIT, Kharagpur, Fergusson College, Pune, and was professor of philosophy at Nowrosjee Wadia College, Pune. Her collection of translated poems from the original Bengali was published by Writers Workshop in 1972. In 1991, Rajlukshmee was awarded the first prize in an all-India poetry competition for her poem, ‘Punarnava.’
Dr. Ahila Sambamoorthy is with the National University of Malaysia (Faculty of Languages), Selangar, Malaysia.
Prabhu Chhugani ‘Wafa’ got the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1981 for his collection Surkh Gulaab Surahaa Khwaab in 1981.
Anju Makhija, Mumbai-based freelance writer and columnist, is a recipient of the first prize in the All-India poetry competition, 1994 (organized by the British Council and Poetry Society of India). Her works include ‘All Together,’ a multimedia production that won an award at the National Education Film Festival, California, in 1995; non-fiction, Effective Communication Skills, a play If Wishes Were Horses… and a book of poems View From The Web.
Menka Shivdasani is a Mumbai-based poet, journalist, and columnist. Her first book of poems, Nirvana at Ten Rupees, was published in 1990.
Nayanathara has been working as a content writer for the past 5 years and her poems have been published in leading websites and online literary journals such as http://www.kritya.in/, www.ndtv.com, www.museindia.com,www.literarymagic.com , www.keralaonline.com and Contemporary Literary Review: India. She completed a 106 pages e-book on Indian Art and Mural Paintings for the website, http://www.chillibreeze.com/, recently. She has also participated and presented poetry in the International Poetry Festival 2008 organized by Kritya. Besides writing poetry, her other interests include painting, reading and music. Her maiden anthology of poems The Scent of Frangipani published by Folio, Thiruvananthapuram, was also released recently.
M. Nazir Ali is associate professor of English working in Tagore Arts College. He has been published in Sulekha and Caferati; while Kavya Bharati and Differsense have agreed to publish Nazir’s poems. A postgraduate in English literature from Gujarat University.
Minal Sarosh has a collection of her poems Mitosis and Other Poems published by Writers Workshop, Kolkata in 1992. Many of her poems have appeared in Times of India, Ahmedabad, Femina, Journal of Poetry Society (India), Chandrabhaga, Emerging Voices, Voices of Hope, Poetry Chronicle, The Silken Web and Winners Vol.III (Unison Publications), I Me Myself and Winners of the Unisun-Reliance Timeout Poetry Contest 2005 (Unisun Publications, Bangalore). Besides, her poems have also appeared in online journals like Muse India, Asia Writes, Danse Macabre, and Other Voices International Project. She has also won awards in All India Poetry Competition 2005 (Poetry Society (India) Delhi, Creative Writing Competition 2006 of Unisun Publications, Bangalore and SMS Poetry Competition 2007 and 2008 Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai.
Sonnet Mondal is the author of five books of poetry including a translation work. His works have been widely read and published in several International literary journals and magazines including Stremez, World Poets Quarterly, Hudson View,Homeless Diamonds, Houston Literary Review, Muse India, Istanbul Literary Review, etc. He was awarded Poet Laureate from Bombadil Pub., Sweden in 2009 and Doctor of Literature from United Writers’ Association, India in 2010. He was also honoured with the ‘Yuvashakti Utkarsha Samman’ and with the honorary appointment of Sub Secretary General of Poetas Del Mundo in 2009. He has also been invited at the international Struga Poetry Evenings in their 50th year celebration to represent India and increase the cultural cooperation between Macedonia and India. He is the founder of the United Minds for Peace Society, managing editor of the Enchanting Verses Journal and the chief editor of the Bombadil Review. At present he lives in Kolkata, India. He is the pioneer of the 21 Line Fusion Sonnet form.
Beverly Dash enjoys graphic designing, photography, dancing and music (not necessarily in this order). She is 19 and lives in a far flung suburb of Mumbai.
Moinak Dutta is a Kolkata-based teacher by profession. Dutta scribbles to satisfy his curiosity and emotional outpouring. He also takes active interest in photography.

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